The measurement of calorimetric spectra following atomic weak decays, beta (β) and electron capture (EC), of nuclides having a very low Q-value, can provide an impressively high sensitivity to a non-vanishing neutrino mass. The achievable sensitivity in this kind of experiments is directly connected to the performance of the used detectors. In particular an energy resolution of a few eV and a pulse formation time well below 1 μs are required. Low temperature Metallic Magnetic Calorimeters (MMCs) for soft X-rays have already shown an energy resolution of 2.0 eV FWHM and a pulse rise-time of about 90 ns for fully micro-fabricated detectors. We present the use of MMCs for high precision measurements of calorimetric spectra following the β-decay of 187Re and the EC of 163Ho. We show results obtained with detectors optimized for 187Re and for 163Ho experiments respectively. While the detectors equipped with superconducting Re absorbers have not yet reached the aimed performance, a first detector prototype with a Au absorber having implanted 163Ho ions already shows excellent results. An energy resolution of 12 eV FWHM and a rise time of 90 ns were measured.
Neutrino massSingle beta decayElectron captureLow temperature detector